“Unless urgent and effective conservation action is taken, these magnificent animals are likely to go extinct within our lifetime.”- Dr. Carlos Drews, Director of WWF’s Global Species Program In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the Sumatran elephant as critically endangered. According to WWF Indonesia, the population had fallen around 35% in the past two decades from about 2,652 individuals to 1,724. The two main drivers pushing Sumatran elephants to the brink of extinction are, first, the loss of habitat due to conversion of forests into human settlements, agricultural areas, and plantations, often leading to conflict related deaths, and the fragmentation of elephant populations. Second, Sumatran elephants still remain targets of poaching for ivory. In order to address these threats and ensure their long-term conservation, what are the potential, urgent and effective actions that can be taken to ensure the conservation of the critically endangered species? Declining Sumatra primary forest extent from 1990 to 2000, 2005 and 2010. Source: Margono et al., (2012). A fundamental precondition is the provision of a viable and protected habitat which has sufficient resources to contain their populations, as Sumatran elephants mainly live in lowland forests and hills below an altitude of 300 meters. However, Sumatra has lost nearly 70% of its lowland forests, due to the terrain also being ideal for crop cultivation. The involvement of the local community in the conservation of Sumatran elephants is crucial. Despite the provision of protected areas, the reality is that as long as…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer